Aces underestimate Liberty’s explosion in the Supertimes’ first encounter

MA VoepelESPN.comJun 30, 2023 at 01:28 a.m. ET3 minutes to read

The first meeting of the so-called WNBA giant teams was about how superhero the defending champion Las Vegas Ice was.

The New York Liberty still has three more encounters with the Aces, all in August. Meanwhile, everyone in the league is looking forward to Las Vegas, which beat Liberty 98-81 at Michelob Ultra Arena in one of the biggest shows Thursdays on the Strip.

“They were really good tonight and they took advantage of us in a lot of areas,” New York coach Sandy Brondello said. “They’re like a well-oiled machine, really. We have to be a bit more turbulent.”

“We’re all capable defenders. … You just have to stick to that side of the ball, because that’s what wins championships. Getting our butts that way, that’s a good thing in the end. What are we going to do about it – that’s the key.”

The rest of the WNBA teams cringe at the mention of super titles, and even the Aces and Liberty don’t seem fond of it. But she caused a stir in the match.

And even if this match is not very close, both teams usually have fun.

“I think we’re playing an interesting style of football [players] The crowd, as well as New York, said Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon, “The ups and downs — people like to play that way, to shoot a lot of 3s. When the ball explodes and everyone is happy with their teammate’s success, I think that’s contagious.”

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The Aces secured the superteam title by bringing back the essence of the 2022 championship as well as adding two-time MVP Candace Parker and another expert with WNBA title experience, Alicia Clark. Meanwhile, Liberty brought on board a former MVP via trade, Jonquel Jones, and another, Breanna Stewart, via free agency, which is also how they acquired standout guard Courtney Vandersloot.

The Aces are now 14-1, and their only loss came to the second-place Connecticut Sun, 12-4. Liberty is in third place 10-4.

Thursday, every Aces baserunner scored in double digits, led by Kelsey Bloom’s 18 points. The team shot 58% from the field and made 32 assists with only seven turnovers.

“This is a group that cares about the ball,” Hammon said. “We can get ahead of ourselves sometimes, but it’s really fun to play with great passers.”

The aces’ ability to consistently find the best shot has affected every defense in the WNBA. Las Vegas leads the league in scoring, averaging 93.1 points per game.

“We had a great plan coming in,” Brundello said. “We didn’t get it done very well, but part of it was because of what they did, how bloody they were. They score points on us on our post shots and mismatches in our runs. They’re in the right place all the time. They’re a scary team.”

Parker, who finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists, has been part of other superteam-type showdowns, as in 2016 and 2017, when she was with the Los Angeles Sparks against the Minnesota Lynx in a back-to-back WNBA game. Final confrontations.

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“I think that lifted the NBA,” Parker said. “Anytime you have competition…you can attract attention.”

However, she and the Aces don’t place any emphasis on the superteam concept because they know the rest of the WNBA is trying to get rid of them. On Sunday, they will face the only team that has ever beaten them, The Suns, at 3 PM ET on ABC.

“There are a lot of really good teams in this league,” Bloom said. “We approach every game the same way, we play the same way. We’ll play there and compete.”

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